Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 29, 2002 · Page 18
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 18

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
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Tuesday, October 29, 2002
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Page 18
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Page 18 —Tuesday, October 29, 2002 SPORTS ®l|c <3n?ihma Gazette Pitt seeks upset at Virginia Tech By ALAN ROBINSON AP Sports Writer PITTSBURGH — Two close losses to Top 25 teams are keeping them out of the national rankings and preventing them from achieving the national identity they have sought for six years under coach Walt Harris. That's why die Pitt Panthers were asking themselves Monday: Could this be the week? To move into the rankings and all but assure themselves of playing in a quality bowl game, the Panthers now must beat — again — the team that already has achieved everything they aspire to be. The Panthers (6-2, 3-0 in Big East), off to their best start in 20 seasons and only two botched extra points and a failed drive away from being unbeaten, have a chance Saturday for the signature victory they have long sought. They beat then-No. 12 Virginia Tech 38-7 last season, one of only two victories they own over the Hok- ies in Big East play. Duplicating such a victory Saturday over the No. 3 Hokies (8-0, 3-0) will be much more difficult, but is something the Panthers insist can be done. "Coach (Frank) Beamer has done what we want to do: He's gone to bowl games year after year, played in a national championship game and is back in the running this year," Harris said Monday. "We know playing down there is a tall order, but it's also an exciting opportunity for our football team." The Panthers played No. 6 Notre Dame (8-0) as tough as anyone this season, losing 14-6 on Oct. 12 despite outgaining the Fighting Irish 402-185 in South Bend. Even with that loss, they would likely be high in Christie, Fox draw suspensions By The Associated Press NEW YORK — Rick Fox was suspended for six games, Doug Christie was banished for two, and every member of the Sacramento Kings who left the bench during a fight with the Los Angeles Lakers last Friday got off scot-free. INDIANAPOLIS — Reggie Miller, hobbled by a nagging ankle injury, will miss at least the first two weeks of the NBA season to see if it Rriofc heals with rest. If P " Cl;> not, he will consider surgery. MIAMI—Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning was placed on the injured list, more than, a month after doctors said his kidney condition would sideline him indefinitely. He is eligible to return Nov. 12. TORONTO —Toronto Raptors forward Lamond Murray underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right foot and is expected to miss at least eight weeks. Auto racing LONDON — Formula One instituted a series of rules changes to make the sport more competitive, including barring teams from telling their drivers to finish in a certain order. Formula One teams rejected radical proposals for a weight handicapping and switching drivers, and approved qualifying and scoring changes. LONDON — The Belgian Grand Prix was dropped from the Formula One schedule because of a ban on tobacco advertising. Football KIRKLAND, Wash. — Seattle Sea- hawks receiver Darrell Jackson was released from a Texas hospital, one day after sustaining a concussion and having a seizure in the locker room after a game against Dallas. Jackson underwent a scan and tests on his head and neck, and results were negative. Tennis PARIS — Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten was knocked out of the Paris Masters first round by qualifier Radek Stepanek 46,6-3,7-6(3). Also, Arnaud Clement beat Rainer Schuettler and Todd Martin withdrew with lower back pain after reaching the main draw through qualifying. Yachting AUCKLAND, New Zealand — America's Cup challenger leaders Al- inghi beat Mascalzone Latino by 2 minutes, 11 seconds, and OneWorld beat GBR Challenge by 1:05 as second-round racing resumed after a four-day postponement for high winds. Boxing FORT LAUDERDAUE, Ha. — Don King repeatedly insisted in testimony that he told rival boxing promoter Bob Arum about his exclusive rights to Julio Cesar Chavez before the fighter jumped ship. "I tMnk a win would get us more recognition on a national scale and do a lot for the program. We should crack the top 25. Hopefully, we'll go out there and do what we know how to do." — Pitt's Brandon Miree the rankings if it weren't for a 14-12 loss to then-No. 23 Texas A&M on Sept. 7 that saw them fail on two extra-point attempts. "I think a win would get us more recognition on a national scale and do a lot for die program," running back Brandon Miree said. "We should crack the top 25. Hopefully, we'll go out there and do what we know how to do." Especially now that Pitt finally has figured out how to win a close game. "Pitt had the ball at its own 23, trailing Boston College 16-13 with 1:10 to go and no timeouts remaining Saturday, yet pulled out a 19-16 victory in overtime. Working the clock, quarterback Rod Rutherford drove the Panthers nearly the length of the field for David Abdul's tying 30-yard field goal with five seconds remaining. Abdul later kicked a 42-yard game-winner in overtime. "That final drive was a thing of beauty," Harris said. Pitt admittedly was motivated after losing 45-7 to Boston College last season, but now faces the same situation in reverse this week. The Panthers' rout of Virginia Tech last year i Pitt's Lamar Slade leaped to catch a pass in front of Boston College defender Trevor White during Saturday's 19-76 victory, which improved the Panthers' record to 6-2. (AP photo) best overall game Saturday by going 20-of-38 for 201 yards and a touchdown while running for a team-high 73 yards. Rutherford's ability to take off and gain yardage when his protection breaks down is an element Pitt hopes to use to attack a Tech defense that is No. 1 nationally in run defense, allowing 40.75 yards per game. Pitt is 0-4 in Blacksburg, but could be 4-0 in the Big East for the first time by winning. in Heinz Field was an anomaly given the Hokies' domination in the series, a 7-2 edge that includes wins of 6321,45-7, 34-17 and 27-7. But the Panthers also nearly won in Blacksburg two years ago, losing 3734 to the No. 2 Hokies in the final minute. Their ability to play with nationally ranked Tech teams the last two seasons gives them the confidence that an upset can be achieved. So does the constantly improving play of Rutherford, who enjoyed his I Wolfpack ride •D' to 9-0 start By DAVID DROSCHAK AP Sports Writer RALEIGH, N.C. — Chuck Amato believes a good defense goes together with winning championships. Undefeated North Carolina State is well on its way to having both in 2002. The lOth-ranked Wolfpack {9-0,40 ACC) head into Saturday's game against Georgia Tech with the league's top defense, allowing 301.4 yards a game. The Wolfpack last led the ACC in defense in 1988 thanks to five All- ACC players. N.C. State's improvement has come without a defensive coordinator. Buddy Green left in the offseason for the same position at Navy, and Amato decided he. and his other defensive coaches would split the duties. So far so good. The Wolfpack have allowed an average of 14.5 points in their four ACC wins over Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke and Clemson. N.C. State allowed 23.1 points in eight league games last season. This spring, Amato noticed more speed on the field and decided to simplify things, relying on more aggressive playing and fewer schemes. At first, the change didn't sit well with his staff. "The defensive coaches were so upset with me," Amato said Monday. "We played two coverages all spring. .We played one man coverage and one zone coverage — and that was it. 1 told them I didn't care if the offense ran up and down the field on them. "I said, 'Gentlemen you don't understand. It's all about execution. It's not who has 83 coverages.' " N.C. State leads the nation with 36 sacks, breaking the school mark of 35 set in 1992. The defense has also recorded 85 tackles for loss and Shawn Price has returned two fumbles for touchdowns. Price is part of a senior-dominated defensive line that has been a key for the Wolfpack defense. "That's where it all starts," Amato said. "If you can't dominate up front, you're going to get your butt waxed. People will be able to do whatever they want to against you." Amato believes his line will get its biggest test yet against the Yellow Jackets. "Can we withstand a big, physical (offensive) front?" he said." We'U find out this weekend." N.C. State's defense was questioned after a letdown at Texas Tech in which it allowed 35 second-half points, and a week later by allowing 24 points against Division I-AA Massachusetts. But since then, the Wolfpack have allowed 17,22 and six points in three key ACC wins. "They've got a lot of pride in themselves," Amato said. "We're getting better people in the box. The grunting and groaning is where it all starts." Amato comes from a defensive background after serving as an assistant for nearly two decades at Florida State. He spends about 85 percent of practice with the defense. "I love seeing him over there with us," lineman Terrance Martin said. "He speaks about how physical you've got to play, and he knows what it takes to win on defense." Amato said the true test for his defense will come in the final four ACC games against the Yellow Jackets, Maryland, Virginia and Florida State. "If we can play with the consistency and the intensity defensively that we did Thursday (against Clemson) for four games, we will have improved," Amato said. r «,$ Teens today are looking for answers, \ and if they can't get them from you, they'll get them from friends. f U > So get active- get informed. t |V . < Find out the side effects of drugs like I rf ecstasy then talk to yqur kids about them. f i s ^ They're smart - they'll listen. =DRUGFREEB\ \ltiking tomorrow work heller. To learn more about ecstasy, call 1-800-533-3394 or visit www.drugfreepa.org

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